Montreal is shutting down two downtown blocks tonight to allow people to cheer on a team from the city's traditional bete noire: Toronto. The very notion would have seemed far-fetched, until Monday night.
Bruno Delorme, a sports marketing lecturer at Concordia and McGill universities, said such a turnout is a good indicator for Montreal's own hoops dreams. "Perhaps not in the short, short term but in the medium- to long-term, it means a lot," Delorme said. "It says a lot for the future of basketball — there was already a fan base before and the interest is growing." And the relative youth of the fan base is a big plus.